I remember I’ve been wondering about this for a long time now when i was on best post cycle therapy supplements. thanks a lot for everyone who answered. in fact, i even found much more information than i expected and most importantly - helpful information. thanks a lot! i wanted to ask if i can ask some more questions if i would have any? thanks!
I thought you were talking about the ten fetters: SuttaCentral
The absence of fear is a sign of an Arahant-along with other aspects.
I made some edits to the wiki article back in October
I think it gives an overview of some of the main basic positions on the topic.
I’m more partial to the minimalist approach which just says its the ending of the three unwholesome roots and the ending of samsara, nothing else can be said after paranibbana i.e. its an unanswerable question and any metaphysical speculation about its ontological nature is unhelpful.
I agree that fear is a really powerful feeling that drives us to act in particular ways - and it ‘short-circuits’ the usual way one practices mindfulness… ie fear breeds urgency and a fight or flight response… This reaction over-rides and shuts down all other actions, until it is resolved.
For me the root cause of fear is lack of control, which is about impermanence. So what I’ve found helpful is focusing on change, especially involuntary change or change for the ‘worse’, change toward things we normally have aversion towards.
By focusing on the change and the resultant states of desire or aversion to them… it’s helped to by-pass that urgency factor, and allowed investigation of causes.
Eg. these things could be looked at from this angle
The things listed above are like the results or dependent outcomes of the following root causes -
Change (impermanence) with regard to; 1. attachments 2. self view 3. pleasant bodily sensations 4. impermanence/sense of control 5. bodily sensations 6. self view 7. self view
This approach has helped me lessen fear in many situations… which in turn lessens suffering, and increases a feeling of well-being and contentment
I just love how practical the Buddhas approach is
Camp A eternalist
Camp B nihilist
Buddha is Camp less
This is a paradox , Nibbana and paticasamuppada contradict one another .
Nibbana is : not dependent on or subjected to a conditioning process .
Paticasamuppada is : dependent origination .
The five aggregates is a conditioning process , appear hopelessly trying to grasp at what the unconditioned Is .
Nibbana = a myth
Just a few further thoughts on these fear factors, in relation to nibbana:
Sometimes I experience feelings in my body that I have come to view as the body’s natural response to a fear situation or frightening thought: tightness in the chest around the heart, or in the pit of the stomach, curling of the limbs, etc. When I observe them, I say to myself “I’m afraid.” But I often then cannot discern any cognitive cause of the fear. Maybe there isn’t one, I think, and it’s just a spontaneous or “free-floating” bodily fear response. But maybe it’s deeper: some kind of awareness at some level of something unfortunate yet to happen in the future that isn’t present to consciousness. And if it is not present to consciousness at all, further efforts to be mindful of what it is are futile.
Even if I can discern the mental cause of some instance of fear, that doesn’t always help. Some kinds of obsessive thoughts can fairly easily be “let go” once one becomes aware of them - at least for as long as one is attending to them. Others are more persistent and the mind seems to insist on thinking them. They are not shallow anxieties related to the superficial rewards and punishments of life in our society, or just hedonistic cravings for things that feel or taste good. They are, as @Mat says, more “existential”. Or they could be related to commitments around which one’s whole life is profoundly structured - not just commitments to chocolate bars, or admiring looks and pats on the back, or a favorite book or television show.
Some of the fears are raised by progress in meditation itself. The thing about samsara, as painful as it is, is that it is filled with meaning and purpose. You need to eat something, or avoid something, or win approval, or fulfill an obligation. But the deeper one goes with meditation, the less of a hold all of the customary sources of meaning - which are basically just various kinds of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance related to earlier life training and experiences - have on your motivation system. One can then sometimes enter a bleak state of something like peaceful despair, where one feels that the whole world is pointless and dreary. Even any effort to achieve liberation seems pointless, because it doesn’t matter whether there is one more or less liberated person in the history of humanity. If thoughts of pointlessness cause suffering, then obviously they are related to a deeper attachment to something - like the need for a “point”. But simply recognizing this attachment might be very far away from being able to abandon it.
There is also the fear of spiritual failure: that one will become stuck in a desolate no-man’s land where one no longer has a taste for the ordinary joys and sorrows of worldly life, but where all kinds of dukkha still remains.
I also experience a fear related to spiritual solitude. Early on in the practice, the insights come so rapidly, the progress away from anxiety and toward contentment is so obvious, and so many of the talks and and books are so helpful that there is a lot of camaraderie and positive reinforcement. But once one gets beyond all of the basics, there seem to be fewer people to talk with, and it can become harder to communicate one’s experiences. And the talks can start to seem superficial.
As it becomes clearer and clearer that the ultimate goal involves the complete cessation of the I-making and my-making processes that attach to objects of thought or experience, and construct a sense of self around them, and that one is aiming at a state in which nothing that is experienced is experienced as part of, or belonging to, one’s self, then the quasi-fictional I that is constructed by these processes starts to rebel with fear and anger - because it doesn’t to be blown out along with all of the attachments that fuel it!
This depth of fear can also be addressed - but it is hard - really hard/unpleasant. In my experience the self will do anything to stay alive… if the Ego senses you’re trying to destroy it, every trick in the book comes out. But when you recognise it for what it is (even the saying of “Mara, I see you”) the terror is reduced. I’ve actually been through this process, though the impetus was external rather than internal. Mine was a completely debilitating and transforming illness, and near death experiences. I can go through the mechanics of it, if you think it would be helpful. I developed many useful strategies and techniques to get me through to reach a point of ego death (if not 100% then at least the grossest 80% gone). I am extremely thankful for my good kamma in having had this thrust upon me - It meant that I had a wonderful opportunity to become immersed in the Dhamma, and the wonderful freedom from being a complete slave to the conditioned self and ego. This results in a huge reduction of suffering. Attaining/glimpsing Nibbana is at another level altogether… more about insights and the cessation of all 6 consciousnesses, especially mind consciousness, in my opinion. That is why it is impossible to explain using our mouths and our minds
Please note these are just observations, reflecting my experience, interpretations and opinions
An indefinite, non reactionary, attention span! ;O)
I find it useful to ask myself the question ‘I’m afraid due to …’ and wait for the answer to elicit the thought behind the anxiety.
With development of Right view different things become meaningful.
A time limited one would be a form of tranquility.
A time limited one would be an experience of tranquility, and a form of restlessness!
Not really, I just felt it was a rather one-sided analysis, with too many assumptions. It’s well worth reading, though I was rather disappointed with it.
Cessation of what though?
That’s certainly possible, but is there any reliable way of identifying the erroneous stuff?
I sometimes wonder whether it is like a steady state of strong, effortless mindfulness, combined with a natural clarity and equanimity.
I suppose what is required is a different kind of awareness, one that is less subject to conditions. Perhaps developed via sati?
Perhaps, though the lack of a clear answer in the EBTs inevitably leads to speculation.
Maybe the answer given isn’t satisfactory?
I’ve tried that and other techniques. I think our ability to understand the causes, in all situations, of our emotional responses and temperaments might be more limited than that. I think that is in part why it’s important to rely on samadhi, and not just sati. The idea that we can unravel the knot of all of our suffering via the development of conscious awareness and some kind of “insight” is not the path. Perhaps not all of the mysteries of our conditioned mental life are accessible to our inward attentive gaze. With Samadhi we go deeper into detachment and cut fetters with the samsaric world in ways that we, ourselves, might not be able to grasp as the process is happening.
I don’t think there is anything in the doctrines developed in the suttas that suggests the universe has a purpose. It just is what it is, and endlessly repeats.